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Monographic Series

This section addresses the establishment and structure of Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) classification numbers for monographic series titles. When classifying a monographic series, refer also to Class Stems and Continuing Resources. See especially the “Cuttering a Serial” section of the Continuing Resources chapter for guidance on short-term and ceased series.

Identifying a Monographic Series

A monographic series (hereafter referred to as series) can be identified by a common title that is assigned to a group of publications. Each publication also has a unique title which often covers a single issue or topic.

The main difference between series and serials is that individual issues of a series have both a common title and their own unique title, which can be found on one particular issue. In contrast, serials may have an occasional issue which has a unique or distinctive title, but in general will have the same title from issue to issue.

Base any classification decisions on information that can be discerned from the publication and that can be obtained from the issuing office. The agency’s expressed intent for the publication should be considered as a determining factor in establishing a class for a new series. For some publications, an issuing agency may specify that they intend to publish additional titles in a series. It may be necessary to contact the issuing agency to determine if a particular publication is either a serial or part of a series.

Assigning New Series Classes

If an initial publication or specific title has been identified as part of a series, and a class number does not already exist for it, a unique class should be established. As a general rule, serial and series titles should not be included in the standard SuDocs classes established for categories. However, there are cases where a new series class is formed by attaching a slash to a category class number. See Continuing Resources, ‘Works Related to Category Classes’ section.

If a publication does not belong to an established series class and is not related to an existing class, find the next available class number at the end of the issuing agency’s classes and assign it to the new series title.

D 1.138:1 NSPS: the brief, eventful history of the National Security Personnel System
(First in a series of occasional papers from the Department of Defense Historical Office; on title page, Occasional Papers Number 1, February 2017)

A new series directly following this one, but unrelated to D 1.138:, would be classified as D 1.139:.

Series Related to Existing Classes by Subject

A new series may be related to other publications by its subject matter. When assigning a new class for a series, see if the new publication in a series is related by subject to a previously established class for the same agency.

HE 23.1210: Child Welfare Information Gateway (Gen. Pubs.)
HE 23.1210/4: Child Abuse and Neglect User Manual Series

Structure of the Series Class

In formulating the classification number, the number representing the series is assigned after the department and subordinate bureau number and is followed by a colon. The number after the colon is the book number; it is typically derived from the agency’s assigned number for each individual volume in the series.

HE 20.6234: NCHS Data Brief series
HE 20.6234:260 Birth expectations of U.S. women aged 15-44
(NCHS Data Brief series, Number 260)
I 19.121: USGS Data Series
I 19.121:729 Fatality estimator user’s guide
(USGS Data Series, Number 729)

Departmental Series vs. Bureau Series

Series or other numbering may be assigned by the parent department or by a subordinate bureau. It may be difficult to determine the issuing agency until several publications have been issued. Numbering may help determine class assignment or if the series is unique to a subordinate office. Some numbering may have been used before, particularly with older publications.

If a new series class should be established under a subordinate office, or if this is an agency series, contact the agency to clarify if it is from a bureau, department, or other area.

In a departmental series, more than one subordinate office may contribute to a series:

A 1.36: Agriculture Department; Technical Bulletins
A 1.36:1939 Quantifying greenhouse gas fluxes in agriculture and forestry
(USDA Office of Chief Economist, Climate Change Program Office)
A 1.36:1942 Understanding IRI household-based and store-based scanner data
(USDA Economic Research Service)

Both of the publications belong to a consecutively numbered series. They should be collocated under the class stem for the Agriculture Department, Technical Bulletins as a whole (A 1.36:).

Series Book Numbers

If a new class (SuDocs stem) is created and there is series numbering on the publication, that numbering should be used as the book number in almost all cases. If there is a new class with no series numbering, Cutter by significant word in the title for each publication within that new series. Only use a Cutter number if there is no unique series number. See Continuing Resources, ‘Cuttering a Serial’ section for more information.

Series Numbering

For the purposes of SuDocs classification, numbering includes not only numbers but also letters, symbols, and punctuation. Classification policy is to use the agency-provided numbering as it appears on the document. Do not adjust or modify the numbering for the sake of consistency of style. Spacing should conform to spacing conventions described in Structure of the Classification Number.

However, agency-provided numbering may be changed as necessary to eliminate conflicts or correct printing errors.

In the following example, a comma may be problematic for an integrated library system (ILS) when used as punctuation. In those cases, a dash may be used instead:

I 19.3:1995-Y-Z Miocene extension and post-Miocene transpression offshore of South Central California
(Original numbering on publication: Bulletin 1995-Y, Z)

GPO does not use commas in SuDocs classification numbers.

Unusual Series Numbering

Sometimes numbers and letters on a new series may be difficult to interpret. If possible, research a few of the publications and compare the numbers.

  • What is the same on each one, and what is different?
  • Are some of the letters in the series an abbreviation of the series title? 
  • Is part of the number different on each publication so that it can be used as part of the classification number? 
  • What do the publications have in common that other publications from the same agency do not have? 
  • Does the number denote a state name or a field of study?

If no logical numbering system can be discerned from a group of publications, or if only one publication is available, contact the agency for an explanation of the numbering system. Take the time to decipher the number before using it as part of the class. The numbering associated with a numbered series should be preferred over the use of a Cutter number.

Series Numbering and Revised Editions

Add a slash and the date to revised editions of publications in numbered series that are assigned the same series number as the original edition.

L 37.8/2: Employment and training handbook
L 37.8/2:408 Work opportunity and welfare-to-work tax credits, 2nd ed.
(Employment and training handbook; no. 408, 1998)
L 37.8/2:408/2002 Work opportunity and welfare-to-work tax credits, 3rd ed.
(Employment and training handbook; no. 408, 2002)

Numbering System Changes

Sometimes agencies change a series numbering system as the series is published over time. For example, an agency may first use a year/number combination to identify individual issues in a series, and later change to a continuous numbering system. The classification number should incorporate whatever changes the agency initiates. Changes in the numbering system do not require a new class stem.

NAS 1.26:185858 Age-related changes in human posture control
(A publication in the NASA contractor report series, issued in 1989)
NAS 1.26:2017-219359 Comprehensive lifecycle for assuring system safety
(A publication in the NASA contractor report series, issued in 2017)

Two Series on One Publication

A publication may have two series printed on it. If both series have established classes, determine which class to use by identifying the issuing agency. Class in the series appropriate to that agency. See Class Stems, ‘Joint Publications Issued in Series’ for more instruction.

If only one series is established, use that SuDocs class even if the other series is presented first on the title page or cover; do not establish a new class for the second series.

Series Number versus Agency Control Number

Do not confuse a series number with an agency control or publication number. These numbers are sometimes referred to as accession numbers or inventory numbers. The publication offices of some agencies assign numbers to their publications to identify each specific publication, but this should not be considered a numbered series for classification purposes. If no series is present, Cutter by keyword in the title.

S 18.52:1 Colombia, small farmer market access
Note: "AID loan 514-T-079."
Note: "AID project 514-0194."
Series statement: Project impact evaluation; no. 1.

The publication carried two agency control numbers which were represented in the record by notes. The series statement was used to class the publication.  The stem S 18.52: represents the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Project impact evaluation series.

Letters and Phrases Appearing on Publications

Sometimes an initialism, abbreviation or phrase is not used in the book number because it stands for part of the series title for the class. When establishing a new class, use the numbers and letters that appear consistently throughout the series as part of the series title appearing in the List of Classes. How much of the number to use in the title should be decided when a new class is established, and continued consistently throughout the class.   

D 101.25:43-0213/2007 Corrosion prevention and control (CPC) for tactical vehicles
(Army TB; 43-0213)

In this example, the abbreviation TB (for Technical Bulletin) is not included in the book number. The title of the class D 101.25: in the List of Classes is Technical Bulletins.

In other instances, an initialism, abbreviation or phrase has been included in the book number for a series class:

A 13.88:RMRS-GTR-351 Ecohydrologic impacts of rangeland fire on runoff and erosion
(General technical report RMRS; GTR-351)

In this example, the initialism RMRS, for Rocky Mountain Research Station, is included in the book number. The title of the class A 13.88: in the List of Classes is General Technical Reports (Forest Service). The initialism further identifies which branch of the Forest Service issued this particular General Technical Report.

In current practice, GPO classifiers should not include an initialism or abbreviation in the book number if it’s unnecessary. In past practice, such initialism and abbreviations were sometimes used in the book number, even in cases where the series title of the class used the same initialism, abbreviation, or a fuller form of the same information.

The agency in this example had multiple series entitled Current Construction Reports, so it assigned a number to each series title. At the time this class was established, it was decided to use the number C 30 associated with the title of the series in the suffix, even though it was also part of the series title. Since the designations should be consistent within a class, continue to use the complete number for publications in this and in similar series.

Volumes, Parts, or Sections

Publications in a series may have volume numbers alone, or volume numbers and issue numbers.

They may have numbers only and have individual titles:

A 93.41:99 New patterns of Hispanic settlement in rural America
(USDA, Economic Research Service, Rural Development Research Report 99)

They may have both dates and volume numbers:

S 1.1:961-63/V. 6 Kennedy-Khrushchev exchanges
(Foreign relations of the United States, 1961-1963, v. 6)

Or they may have no numbers and have individual titles. In this case, a Cutter number should be used:

S 1.123:IR 2/2000 Background notes, Ireland

See Cutter Numbers.

Some earlier classes used the abbreviations for the first level as part of the book number. If abbreviations, such as V. and NO., were used as part of the book number when the class was established, discontinue this practice when new volumes are received. Generally, do not use abbreviations.

Publications Which Are Not Series or Serials

Multipart Monographs versus Series

A multipart monograph is a publication issued in two or more parts that is complete or intended to be completed within a finite number of parts. Some multipart works share characteristics with series and serials, but are treated as neither. These publications have a common title on all volumes and may also have unique titles for each volume. The agency intends to issue only a finite number of volumes, even though the issuance may last for an extended period of time.

Examples of dedicated SuDocs numbers for multipart monographs:

Otherwise, multipart monographs are classed in their appropriate category classes. The following example is a multipart monograph classed in the agency’s General Publications class:

Other Situations

In addition to multiparts, certain publications may look like series or serials but should not be treated as such. These include:

  • Censuses
  • Dictionaries
  • Encyclopedias
  • Congressional hearings
  • Publications which are updated in irregular, infrequent, and unplanned editions
  • Publications which change their titles frequently
  • Serial-like publications which lack a distinguishing volume or coverage date


Superintendent of Documents Classification Guidelines

Introduction to the Classification Guidelines
The Classification System: A Brief History
Structure of the Classification Number
Sorting in SuDocs Order
Example of a SuDocs Sort
Class Stems
Letter Author Symbols
New Agency Classes
Joint Publications from Different Agencies
Publications Prepared by One Agency for Another
Serials with Changing Publishers
Joint Publications Issued in Series
Subordinate Offices
First and Second Levels
Assignment of Classes
Third and Fourth Levels
Joint Publications from Different Subagencies
Name Changes and Reorganizations
Category Classes
Most Frequently Used Category Classes
.1 - Annual reports
.2 - General publications
.8 - Handbooks, manuals, and guides
.11 - Maps and Charts
.12 - Posters
Less Frequent Category Classes
.3 - Bulletins
.4 - Circulars
.5 - Laws
.6 - Regulations, rules, and instructions
.7 - Press releases
.9 - Bibliographies and Lists of Publications
.10 - Directories
.13 - Forms
.14 - Addresses
Cutter Numbers
Cutter Table and Its Use
Filing Order for Cutter Numbers
Slash Numbers
Selecting Cutter Words
Words to Avoid when Cuttering
Sets With a Collective Title
Foreign Language Editions
Numbers in Titles
Cuttering Acronyms and Initialisms
Cuttering: Geographic Topics
Cuttering Related Documents Covering the Same Subject but Different
General Subjects and Geographic Terms
Cuttering Geographic Terms Using Personal Names
Cuttering Multi-Part Geographic Names
State Cutter Numbers
State Cutter Numbers Table
Additions to Book Numbers
Year Format
Dates for Revised Editions
Punctuation in Dates or Date Ranges
Volume, Part, Chapter, and Section Numbers
Volume Number and Date: Which Comes First?
Volume Number Followed by Date
Date Followed by Volume Number
Words and Abbreviations
Foreign-language Publications
Multiple Word Phrases in a Suffix
Multiple Versions of a Publication
Corrected Copies of Numbered Volumes
Standard Abbreviations and Words
State Abbreviations
Classes by Publication Type
Preliminary, Draft, and Final Reports
Preprints and Separates
Summaries and Executive Summaries
Electronic Products
Sets with Multiple Publication Types
Monographic Series
Identifying a Monographic Series
Assigning New Series Classes
Series Related to Existing Classes by Subject
Structure of the Series Class
Departmental Series vs. Bureau Series
Series Book Numbers
Series Numbering
Unusual Series Numbering
Series Numbering and Revised Editions
Numbering system changes
Two series on one publication
Series number vs. Agency control number
Letters and Phrases Appearing on Publications
Volumes, Parts, or Sections
Publications Which Are Not Serials or Series
Multipart Monographs versus Series
Other Situations
Continuing Resources
Identifying a Continuing Resource
Integrating Resources
Assigning New Continuing Resource Classes
Works Related to Category Classes
Works Related to Existing Classes by Subject
New Classes to Reflect Changes for Existing Serials
Serials within Series: Separate Class Approach
Serials with a Constant Series Number
Cuttering a Serial or, When Not to Establish a New Class Stem for a Serial
Serials within Series: Cuttering Approach
Publications of Short Duration
Other cases for Cuttering
Serials Designation
Number 1 for First Month Appears Annually
Date incorporated in Series Number
Volume and Number
Annual Publications
Semiannual Publications
Publications Issued Three or More Times a Year
Variations in Publication Cycles
Release Date vs. Coverage Date
Special Issues of Serials
Frequently Revised Monographs Cataloged as Serials
Presidential Publications
Presidential Committees and Commissions
Presidential Commissions vs Presidential Initiatives
Permanent Agencies Reporting to the President
Vice President of the United States
Congressional and Legislative Branch Publications
Y 4. - Congressional Committee Publications
Constructing the Committee Designation
Reorganized Committees and Name Changes
Y 4. Committee Print or Y 1. Report?
Joint Hearings
Publications Prepared by One Committee for the Use of Another
Individual Book Numbers
House Book Numbers
Numbered and Unnumbered Documents in One Class
Senate Book Numbers
Cutter Numbers
Multipart Works
Errors in Numbering on Publications
Y 1.-: - Congress as a Whole, House and Senate as a Whole
Individual Book Numbers
House and Senate Documents and Reports
Y 1.1/2: - U. S. Congressional Serial Set
Y 1.2/5: - United States Code
Boards, Commissions, and Independent or Temporary Committees Established by Congress
Boards, Commissions, and Committees Established within the Executive Branch
Executive Branch Independent Agencies with Limited Duration or Publishing Output
Y 3. - Boards, Commissions, and Independent or Temporary Committees
Agency Designations
Category and Series Designations
Related Series or Subjects
Individual Book Numbers
Y 3.2: - Limited Boards, Commissions, and Independent Committees
Y 4.2: and Y 4.3: - Select and Special Committees (As Appointed)
Y 9. - Speeches
Y 10: and Y 11: - Subordinate Offices
X 1.1: - Congressional Record
XJH: and XJS: - House and Senate Journals
Y and X General Issues
Serial Publications
Star Prints
U.S. Participation in International Organizations
Cartographic Resources
Category Classes for Maps and Charts
General Rules
U.S. Geological Survey Maps
Map Reference Numbers
Northwest (NW) Quadrant
Northeast (NE) Quadrant
Southwest (SW) Quadrant
Southeast (SE) Quadrant
Edition Date
Bureau of Land Management Maps
U.S. Forest Service Maps
Revision Dates
National Ocean Service Nautical Charts
Map Types
Classification Guidelines for Digital Reproductions
Classification by Type of Digital Reproduction

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